Talented musician Robert Glasper blessed the World Renowned Kennedy Center again on Sunday, November 13. Glasper is a five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, producer, and founding member of the Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council. For this performance, he was here to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his innovative, award-winning, genre-shattering Black Radio brand. Glasper brought along a few close and personal friends to join the celebration.
They included Lalah Hathaway, Bilal, Mechel Ndegeochello, and Amir Sulaiman. Yashiin Bey was on the bill, but he didn't perform for unknown reasons.
Conducting the 32-piece Black Radio Orchestra was Derrick Hodge. While comedian Affion Crockett was the evening's host for the special one-night-only concert.
I first got hip to Robert Glasper's music during my days in the Air Force when a UK-based Soul Magzine did a feature on his major label debut, Canvas. Naturally, I was ecstatic when his fifth album Black Radio finally broke through to mainstream audiences in 2012.
Since then, Glasper has released two more Black Radio volumes, four more albums, and even composed a film. I had missed seeing Glasper previously, so I made sure to pencil in time this go-round. Throughout the night, artists performed their collaborations with Glasper, and he was perfectly in sync with the vocalists. Bilal took us to church with every performance, while Meshell Ndegeocello's cover of Al B Sure's "Nite and Day" was worth the price of admission alone.
Similarly, Lalah Hathaway's cover of "Cherish The Day" and "Everyone Wants To Rule The World" were two of the best vocals I've heard all year in concert. I must also mention Affion Crockett, a gracious host who wowed the audience with his rapping and break-dancing skillfulness.
Robert Glasper is a musician who isn't trying to improve the world with his music. Instead, he brings a skill level with honesty well ahead of his years. If he's ever in your town, I recommend making the time to see him.
Final Grade A